More funding available to protect Southland’s native biodiversity
Environment Southland is now offering up to $300,000 per year for projects that help protect and enhance the region’s remaining native ecosystems.
Councillors at this month’s Strategy and Policy Committee meeting approved changes to the Environmental Enhancement Fund (EEF) which has been in existence since 2012 to support projects that protect and enhance biodiversity.
Previously capped at $40,000 per year, the fund has received a temporary boost to $300,000 per year until July 2025, with support from the Government’s Jobs for Nature programme.
The fund pays half the costs of approved projects, and can be used for things like pest animal and weed control, fencing, work to restore the natural flow of water, native planting and plant maintenance.
Environment Southland general manager integrated catchment management Paul Hulse welcomed the changes and said it was fantastic news for both Southland’s biodiversity and economy.
“Southland is such a special place, we’re home to over 60 native ecosystems many of which aren’t found anywhere else in New Zealand. These areas form the habitat for protected and endangered species and it’s vital that we protect them for future generations.
“With the increase in available funding we’re hoping to encourage more Southlanders to step up and look after native ecosystems either on their own land or elsewhere in the region.”
The money will support the community and Covid-19 economic recovery.
Environment Southland biodiversity team leader Polly Bulling said the fund was now more accessible than ever, and she hoped many would take the opportunity to apply.
“The majority of funds out there are only open to groups and trusts, but this fund is open to literally anyone who wants to start a project to protect Southland’s native ecosystems.“
Applications can come from landowners, trusts, individuals and community groups, and people don’t need to necessarily own any land themselves.
“You can apply for projects anywhere in Southland on private land, conservation land or council land, as long as you have the permission from the relevant landowner.”
She said while in previous years it was possible to use the fund for the creation of new areas, the focus has now shifted to protecting and enhancing what we already have.
“While we acknowledge this work, studies show that the best outcomes for biodiversity will come from protecting what we have left.”
If you’re not sure whether your project would qualify, Environment Southland can provide advice and come out to do a visual assessment.
Applications can be made at any time of the year. An online application form, along with more details and information can be found at www.es.govt.nz/eef